Nuclear

Westinghouse Electric Emerges from Financial Winter

Nuclear contractor giant Westinghouse Electric Co. is now owned by Brookfield Business Partners LP and has emerged from a nearly 17-month bankruptcy reorganization, rebounding from a financial fall that threatened to collapse the already feeble U.S. nuclear plant construction future.

The 20-year-old nuclear offshoot of the historic Westinghouse company first filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2017, after revealing $9 billion or more in losses. The $4.6 billion Brookfield acquisition was first announced in January and closed on Wednesday.

“We are pleased to have completed this acquisition, which diversifies our business into global infrastructure services,” said Cyrus Madon, CEO of Brookfield Business Partners, in a statement. “We look forward to bringing our expertise and support to position Westinghouse for continued success as a leader in its field. We see strong prospects for the business, leveraging the deep knowledge and experience of its employees to drive excellence in client service and innovation.”

The Westinghouse bankruptcy sent shockwaves through the U.S. nuclear energy sector. The company’s troubles caused then parent firm Toshiba close to $5 billion in losses, while the uncertainty forced South Carolina utilities Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas to abandon construction of two reactors at the V.C. Summer plant in July 2017.

“The close of this transaction marks an exciting milestone for Westinghouse as we have successfully emerged from Chapter 11 and continue to navigate a significant transformation that positions us for long-term sustainable success,” Westinghouse President & CEO José Emeterio Gutiérrez said in a statement. “With the support of Brookfield, Westinghouse will continue to build on its legacy of leading the nuclear industry. Our focus is on strengthening the business, capitalizing on our global footprint and excelling in client service and innovation.”

Westinghouse has thrived globally, continuing on reactor projects worldwide, including in China and Ukraine. In the U.S., work continued on two reactors at Georgia Power’s Vogtle plant despite the financial collapse.

Westinghouse was spun off from the original company and sold to British Nuclear Fuels Ltd in 1999. Toshiba acquired Westinghouse in 2005 for close to $2 billion.

Brookfield Business Partners is the industrial segment of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. The company holds renewable energy, real estate and infrastructure assets.